Nehemiah 7:2 “I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.” (NIV – 2011)
The writer Nehemiah says that he gave a man named Hanani a leadership position for two reasons.
First, he was a man of integrity. The idea is that he was faithful to what he believed. He trusted God and his belief led him to do whatever the law required and handle situations as God desired. He would not oppress people, abuse his authority, take bribes, or do anything that would be perceived as wrongdoing.
Second, he was a man who “feared God more than most people do.” He was religious, but his religious conviction superseded anyone else in the community of believers. There was something that separated his behavior from other believers.
This description is never explained to us. Does it mean he spent more time in prayer? Perhaps he read the scriptures more. Maybe he was a son who cared for his parents better than most people. Could it mean he was a quality husband and father? Was it just about his worship of God, or did this include every aspect of his life?
We have no way of knowing precisely what Nehemiah meant, but through our experience, we also know what he is talking about. When you think of a deeply religious person, you immediately think of that one person. They fear God more than most people do.
The question is, “Would anyone ever say that about you?” Is there anyone who would say of you, “They fear God more than other people,” and everyone would agree? If not, what would it take to get there?